International Day of Trans Visibility

 

20150705-205301-e1459430702680March 31 is a day to both celebrate and rededicate our efforts to support our trans brothers and sisters in their difficult fight for equality. The infographic in the right hand column details the struggle many face just to find and keep a job.

One way to mark International Day of Trans Visibility is to view the stunning short movie BraceWritten, produced and starring trans filmmaker and activist Jake Graf, and directed by Sophy Holland and Alicya Eyo, the movie has played at  over 40 film festivals worldwide and won Best Short at Queer-STREIFEN, Germany and The Alfred C Kinsey Award at Bloomington Pride, Indiana. Just click on the graphic below.

The film is described as follows: “After coming out and leaving his girlfriend, Adam dreams of finding acceptance within London’s gay scene. His burgeoning freedom is soon challenged when he meets Rocky, a handsome stranger who is harboring a secret that he desperately wants to share with Adam. As their bond strengthens and Rocky prepares to reveal his secret to Adam, their fledgling romance is ruptured by a cataclysmic event that forces the truth to come out in the most explosive manner.”

 

 

Latest LGBT arts and entertainment news

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A scene from “Packed in a Trunk” a film about lesbian artist Edith Lake Wilkinson who was confined to an asylum in 1924 and never heard from again.

From articles about lesbian artist Edith Lake Wilkinson to controversial gay artist Robert Mapplethorpe and performance artist Taylor Mac you would think Gay Pride Month was just around the corner. (It is.) Berkshire on Stage covers much of the LGBTQ scene for those of us in the Berkshires. But then it also covers the hetero-normative world as well. On the current home page there are the two Kates who are straight, the new Batman vs. Superman film which is a mess, and other mainstream articles to keep us informed and entertained. Take a few minutes out to view the ever-changing world of entertainment published by a Rainbow Senior. http://www.berkshireonstage.com

 

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The Next Meeting of Rainbow Seniors of the Berkshires will take place on Tuesday, April 19 from Noon to 2pm at the First Congregational Church in Williamstown. (Parking in rear, use side entrance.) It’s a potluck lunch so bring something to share. There will be news of our first outdoor activity of the season, as well as planning for our participation in Pride events in Northampton and Pittsfield.

Queer and campy whodunit coming to Club Helsinki Hudson

Nasty Drew & That Harder Boy: The Mystery of the Family Jewels, a cabaret show written and produced by Chris Harder parodying the classic Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries beloved by baby-boomers, takes place at Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday, April 17, at 7pm.

This “queer and campy whodunit,” a co-production of GayHudson.com and BigGayHudsonValley.com, features some of New York City’s hottest names in burlesque, drag, and circus performers.

For reservations in The Restaurant or in the club call 518.828.4800. For the most up-to-date concert information, visit http://www.helsinkihudson.com.
About Chris Harder

Chris Harder (AEA, SAG/AFTRA) is an actor, director and theatre maker dedicated to artistic risk and the creation of new work. Chris is a Resident Artist with Artists Repertory Theatre, a two-time Drammy Award winner and twice Regional Arts and Culture Council grants recipient. He is drawn to the primal roots of theatre and the ability stories have to change lives.

He was a founding member of the Sowelu Theater Ensemble (1998 – 2004) working in all areas of production and training in weekly ensemble workshops, studying Meisner with Bary Hunt (via William Esper,) Viewpoints (from Kim Weild & SITI Co.) and practicing physical awareness techniques.

Chris has performed in numerous plays, readings and workshops. Local theaters include Portland OR Center Stage, Artists Repertory Theatre, Third Rail Rep, Portland Playhouse, Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, Hand2Mouth, CoHo Productions, Sojourn Theatre, Profile Theatre, Stark Raving, Eggshell Productions, Well Arts Institute and Portland Civic Theatre Guild. Chris developed and self produced two original solo shows (The Centering and Fishing For My Father) and has toured to the Edmonton and Boulder International Fringe Festivals.

In Film / TV Chris has worked with director Gus Van Sant and actors Harrison Ford, Ron Livingston and Timothy Hutton. Credits include; Grimm, Restless, Extraordinary Measures, Music Within, Rid of Me, Everyman’s War, Leverage, Recovery and Thieves.

For more than ten years he has performed as a Clown, Comedy Magician, and Emcee, creating laughter at over one thousand events. He is a certified Comedy Stage Hypnotist (Chris David) having trained in Las Vegas from one of the top instructors in the world.

Club Helsinki Hudson

Xena to get reboot; Queer as Folk 2.0 stalled out

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In the world of show business, revivals are always easier than new projects, and with changing times and attitudes it comes as no surprise that NBC has commissioned a pilot for a new series of Xena: Warrior Princess episodes. Australian actor Lucy Lawless reportedly will be replaced with a new star, while her butch leather skirt and Gabrielle’s bare midriff will go away in favor of more realistic costumes as inspired by the series Game of Thrones become the new armor.

But most intriguingly, Xena and Gabrielle will be completely out – no more story lines with Petracles, a man Xena was going to wed; or Caesar whom Xena thought she loved; or Borias who was destined to become the father of Xena’s son, Solan, but at the time they met, they were “just using each other”, to quote Xena. And what about Iolaus, Hercules, and Marcus, the latter supposedly Xena’s one true love? All just cover stories.

The new series has a totally upfront lesbian relationship. This alarms the bisexual community whose desire for sympathetic portrayals on stage and screen still are lacking.

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Queer as Folk 2.0

Last summer there were numerous reports of a reboot of the Showtime’s 2001-2005 series Queer as Folk, with all new characters and situations, but it seems to have withered on the grapevine. With the actors from that series busy with other projects – Randy Harrison is currently playing the emcee in a brilliant new production of Cabaret that is touring the USA – all new actors would take up the roles the original actors brought to life.

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter to celebrate ten years since the US show ended, showrunners Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman signalled their interest in bringing it back to screens.

Lipman is quoted as saying: “We’d be open to it, depending on the venue of a reboot.

“I think what would be interesting would be to explore our characters who are now in their 40s and bringing in a new generation and seeing how that mix would go.”

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Xena and Lucy Lawless

“There is no reason to bring back Xena if it is not there for the purpose of fully exploring a relationship that could only be shown sub-textually in first-run syndication in the 1990s,” Javier Grillo-Marxuach wrote recently. Nevertheless, the pair’s lingering glances, kisses and innuendo cemented them as lovers, not friends, for Xena: Warrior Princess fans. But the true extent of their feelings for each other were always cloaked in innuendo and were never addressed in the series – until now.
Newsweek cites a 2003 interview with Lesbian News, where Lawless describes Xena as “definitely” gay: “There was always a ‘Well, she might be or she might not be’ but when there was that drip of water passing between their lips in the very final scene, that cemented it for me,” says Lawless. “Now it wasn’t just that Xena was bisexual and kinda liked her gal pal and they kind of fooled around sometimes, it was ‘Nope, they’re married, man.’”

Barney Frank to give talk in Williamstown

 

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Rainbow Seniors is thrilled to learn that former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank will present a lecture titled “Washington Gridlock, Gay Rights, and Jewish Roots” at Williams College on Sunday, April 10, 2016. This event will take place at 8 p.m. in Chapin Hall, and is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required, but if overfilled the event will be simulcast in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall.

Frank’s talk will draw from his memoir, Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage, in which he discusses the satisfactions, fears, and grudges that come with elected office. Frank tells of battles from AIDS funding in the 1980s to the financial crisis in 2008, in which he played a key role. He recalls the emotional toll of living in the closet and how his public crusade against homophobia conflicted with his private accommodation of it.

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Above: Barney Frank & husband Jim Ready

Frank served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for the Fourth Congressional District of Massachusetts from 1981 to 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee from 2007 to 2011 and was a leading co-sponsor of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. In 1987, he became the first Congress member to publicly come out as gay, and later was the first member to enter a same-sex marriage while in office. He is a regular commentator on MSNBC.

This talk is sponsored by the Leadership Studies program, the Bronfman Fund, and the program in Jewish Studies.

Trans Group forming in South County

We are delighted to share the news of another first for Berkshire County (and surrounding region!) There is a Trans Group meeting on Tuesday, March 22 in Housatonic at 7pm in the UU Meeting of South Berkshire, 1089 Main Street. It’s a first, and we will share news of their future activities and look forward to supporting their activities in any way we can.Trans Group March 22

 

Panel on Women’s Issues touches everyone

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Over the weekend, Rainbow Seniors of the Berkshires gathered around the big table at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield to learn more about how lesbian issues have changed over the decades. Four Berkshire women initiated a thoughtful panel that was far ranging, ultimately incorporating all the letters in our acronym: LGBTQ.

One of the panelists took the opportunity to write down her thoughts and we are delighted to share them with our readers.

March 5    Rainbow Seniors

I am going to talk about the seventies and early eighties and want to apologize to those of you who are gender fluid, bisexual, asexual, intersex, questioning, queer, pansexual, genderqueer, androgynous, two spirited, trans people, and everyone else I have left out. I don’t want to leave you out again. But I am talking about a specific era and my limited understanding of diversity. So I apologize and hope that we as a group can include all of us.

It was the seventies or early eighties.

A complicated time, at least for me. There was the important issue of who I would lose my virginity to. I’d been falling in love with girls since 3rd grade. But I thought or hoped I was bi, because I figured that then people would only be pissed at me part of the time. But that didn’t work out because I was a lesbian.

And I was a feminist, but that didn’t work out because I was a lesbian and the straight women only wanted us to stuff envelopes. They didn’t want us to be visible or vocal, and I was too out. Besides, they talked mostly about day care and abortion and the pill. Also about rape and domestic violence and earning $0.66 when men earn a dollar. I wanted to talk about that, but not to them.

Gay men and lesbians had different interests, and many men are accustomed to imposing their priorities. And it was disheartening.

That was the appeal of separatism. I was a baby dyke and it was my post-adolescent ‘fuck you’ to men and straight women. But I never was attracted to the women’s farming commune thing where everything is decided by consensus. I don’t have the patience.  At that time I was a city girl living in Manhattan. Being a lesbian separatist meant cutting out 95% of humanity which was just too much for me.

So I talked to lesbians. And, back then, that led to discussions of masculinity and femininity and butch and femme. I couldn’t decide for myself. I enjoyed being a girl, but I wanted it to be clear that no man could mess with me. So I wore very short hair, killer make-up, and skirts. I was very thin and was 6’ 1” in my 3 inch Italian leather heels. 

I liked flirting. But I knew that if I flirted with a woman, it could be mistaken for a marriage proposal, so I flirted with gay men. I knew a lot of men who were interior designers, in fashion, or on Broadway. So we liked a lot of the same things. Things that lesbians were not supposed to like. This was my ‘inner faggot’. 

Eventually I did the traditional lesbian thing. I met a woman. We dated briefly. And we have been together for 28 years. She is fabulous, but she never learned to flirt.

I knew that gay men are men and the whole testosterone thing was and remains a mystery. My gay brother and one of my straight brothers have said to me, ‘Yes, Abby. We think about it all the time.’ Well, by and large, my people don’t.

And lesbians don’t think about social justice all the time, but a lot. Lesbians aren’t the only people who have strong reactions when people aren’t treated equally, but we talk about it. We didn’t invent ‘political correctness’ to be annoying. In fact, we may not have invented it at all, but it feels like we did. It wasn’t about Big Sister watching you. I think we just want to be treated with respect and we want that for others. Maybe we get a little sensitive about what some men say about women. Donald Trump and his supporters are terrifying. As are the men who want to legalize rape.

Back in the old days lesbians got left out of policy making in feminist groups. We got left out of decision making in a lot of gay and lesbian groups. We just did not feel welcome, so we left. I don’t want anyone to feel unwelcome in this group.

I really like queer people. We are more insightful, interesting, and fun than straights. I think we get something from being outsiders. Fun is what I hope for, for this group.

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Next Williamstown potluck March 15

 

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Once agan the Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County will gather in Williamstown and share a potluck lunch with a group conversation to follow. The food is always a wonderful surprise – we have some of the best cooks in the county! – as are the topics and conversation starters.

With a hearty welcome to everyone in the LGBTQ community, the North County meeting begins at noon and usually ends around 2pm in Williamstown. As we did at the last meeting, we gather in the library of the First Congregational Church of Williamstown, 906 Main St., at Route 2 and Chapin Hall Road. Social conversation takes place over the potluck lunch while the ice cream or other treat for dessert – compliments of Rainbow Seniors — signals it’s time to pick a topic.

Some of our members attend both the Pittsfield and Williamstown meetings, and soon we will be posting info on a Cheshire Q&A Session to introduce ourselves to seniors in that community, as we did in Adams just over a week ago.  It’s part of a conscious outreach effort to let  community members  gay and straight – know that we exist, to ask questions and share information on LGBTQ resources across the county.

If you are not on our e-mail list yet, send Ed a note at rainbowseniorsbc@gmail.com or give him a call at 413-441-6006.